We all have that book that captured us instantly. When we first read it, we would be so engrossed in the story that we wouldn’t even remember turning the pages. However, sometimes these books lose their initial allure and the magic that overcame us upon the first reading. Here are some of the books that I wish I could recapture the experience of reading them for the first time.
Warning: May contain spoilers and awesomeness.
1. Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz – Horowitz knows how to keep his readers turning pages, and I can remember staying up until 4:00 a.m. just waiting to see how MI6 teen spy Alex escaped from a seemingly doomed situation. However, now that I know how he got out of those jams, the books have lost some of their mystery and excitement for me.
2. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – Garden Spells is Allen’s breakout novel, and it became a New York Times Bestseller. Her writing seamlessly mixed magic with reality. Also, this book was the first time in which I had been thrown into a world of sensory details in which sight was not the primary sense. Instead, Allen bombarded me with decadent tastes and enticing scents. I swear that I could sometimes taste and smell what she was describing. While I still love her writing and remain an unwavering fan, I wish that I could go back and experience the newness of her writing again.
3. Harvest Son: Planting Roots in American Soil by David Mas Masumoto – Masumoto’s exploration of his familial roots, community roots, and roots of his vineyard kept my attention. Admittedly, though, I read it during a time in which I was assigned (and diligently reading) horribly boring texts. Therefore, this assigned reading felt like I was somehow cheating the system because I was enjoying it. That aspect of my enjoyment is gone upon subsequent and voluntary readings of the book.
4. Queen of Babble trilogy by Meg Cabot – This series is one of my favorites. Perhaps my love for it stems from the books’ connections to Pride and Prejudice or from the protagonist learning to be unapologetic about who she is. I’m not sure. The first time reading the books was magical, and while I always have fun rereading the series, it just doesn’t have that enchantment over me like it did during the first reading.
5. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck – While not the most uplifting of novels, The Good Earth had me continually rooting for Wang Lung and O-Lan to rise out of poverty and then for Wang Lung to realize O-Lan’s importance. That hope for a happy ending kept me turning pages the first time, but now that I know the ending, I can’t bring myself to go back to the book for a second reading.
6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This is the first assigned book that I remember actually enjoying as a kid. I was transported into a world in which I felt like I was Scout, and I intensely felt her emotions and the bond that she had with Boo Radley. While I understood (at least to some extent) the racial, class, and gender issues in the text, my focus was on Scout—how much I wanted to be like her and any shared attributes we may have had with one another. Now that I’m older, I find myself unable to read the book again that same focus.
7. You Had Me at Halo by Amanda Ashby – The reader starts out with a dead protagonist, but the book is oddly uplifting. While I’ve read the text three times now, I still haven’t been able to recapture that first time’s fun reading experience.
What are some books that you wish that you could read for the first time again?